Northern Ireland news

Tributes paid to songwriter and music lover Eamon Friel

Singer/song-writer, Eamon Friel passed away today following a short illness.
Seamus McKinney

DERRY singer/songwriter Eamon Friel has been described as a "musical curator" who had a unique breadth of knowledge, following his death today.

Mr Friel passed away at Altnagelvin hospital following a short illness.

The former school teacher won a Sony award for his long-standing contribution to music as a song writer, musician and, for more than 30 years, a broadcaster with BBC radio.

The Derry man presented a long-running music show, Friel’s Fancy on BBC Radio.

He recorded a number of his own songs over the years about his home city including The Waltz of the Years, Here is the River, “The Streets Forget and City of Song. He also penned Brandywell Pride about Derry City football club.

Tributes were led today the director of BBC Northern Ireland Peter Johnston who described Mr Friel as a “musical curator” with a unique breadth of knowledge and infectious enthusiasm.

“His distinctive voice and style of broadcasting will be missed by his listeners and all of us at BBC Northern Ireland,” Mr Johnston said.

Michael Bradley, bass guitarist with the Undertones and BBC Radio Foyle producer, said he learned a lot from his time working with Mr Friel.

“He wore his knowledge lightly but the love of all kinds of popular music was always with him,” Mr Bradley said.

SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood said Mr Friel was a “great singer, songwriter, broadcaster and Derry man”.

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